The Layla and the Bots Invention I’s Activity Packet can be used with any kind of design challenge! For example:
- Invent a tool to pick up an apple
- Invent a musical instrument
- Invent a protective package for a potato chip
- Invent a leprechaun trap
- Invent a Scratch coding game
- Invent a balloon-powered vehicle
I’ve outlined a basic lesson structure here that you can customize for your needs, but you can find more detailed lesson plans for specific challenges on the main Invention I’s page.
Step 1. Design Thinking Primer
- Layla and the Bots “Invention I’s” Activity Packet
Have students read a Layla and the Bots book. (This can be done aloud as a group or individually.)
Use the “Invention I’s” cover diagram to help discuss the following questions as a group:
- What problem were Layla and the Bots trying to solve? Who were they trying to solve it for?
- How did they investigate the problem? How did they learn about the audience they were designing for?
- What idea did they come up with to solve their problem?
- How did they implement their idea? What did they build and how?
- How did they improve their invention? What did they have to change and why?
After reading Happy Paws and/or Built for Speed, you’ll see that Layla and the Bots solve more than one problem in their invention process—because invention is all about learning and solving lots of problems along the way!
Step 2. Invention Challenge
Define the rules and get your students excited for the challenge!
Talk together as a group to articulate the problem they are being asked to solve. Have your students fill out the “Investigate” section of the activity packet based on the discussion.
- What is the problem you are trying to solve?
- Who are you solving it for?
Investigate and discuss as a group everything you can about the problem and who they’re solving for. (This is a great opportunity for a mini-lesson about any STEAM concepts involved in the challenge!)
As appropriate, ask students to work individually or in small groups. Based on the earlier conversation, ask them to articulate their thoughts and ideas in the “Ideate” sections of their activity packet.
- Why is it a problem?
- Come up with ideas to solve it!
You can encourage them to come up with multiple problems to generate more solution ideas, and to see if they can combine those ideas! Check in on groups to see how they’ve described their problem and solution. Help them think through their ideas.
Invite your students to start building! Check in with each group to see how their process is going.
(For virtual classrooms, you can let them build independently on their own time.)
Time to test and see how the solutions worked out!
Observe the inventions in action. Ask students to think about what they think could be improved on their own design. Could they make it better or stronger or cooler, etc? Have them fill out the “Improve” section of the activity sheets with their thoughts and ideas.
- What’s not working well?
- How might you improve it?
Give students time to repair and adjust their invention. (It may be that students jump to re-building before filling out the activity sheet, which is totally fine! It’s designed to work either way.)
Give each group 2-3 minutes to present the title of their invention and how they improved it before a final test run! Cheer each other on, and celebrate the wonderful inventions of the day.
[TIP: If needed, presentations can be done on a separate day, or even as individually shared videos for virtual instruction. Just jump to the conclusion and invite students to continue improving their inventions for their final presentation.]
Remind students that they can always continue to Improve their inventions by repeating the cycle of Investigate, Ideate, and Implement! Every invention is made up of lots of little problems solved with somebody’s great ideas. So encourage them to keep asking “What if…?” and have fun inventing!
If you do end up using the Invention I’s with your class in some way, send me a photo and I’ll send your class a package of Layla and the Bots stickers!
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